As I write this it hovers around 35 degrees in New York City and while it’s a clear sky day, it will be dark in a mere 8 hours. For some people this probably means next to nothing.. but if you, like me, feel the winter blues acutely in your bones – this is the first real scare. The first shift in the winds and the clocks that says “I’m coming for you”.

The tricky part is that I truly love November and December – they’re filled with joy – holidays, traditions, decorations everywhere you turn in the city. Which is often why I’m tricked into thinking maybe I won’t feel the winter blues this year. But every year, like clockwork, January rolls around and I want to crawl out of my (very dry) skin and move to Mexico just to avoid one more single short, cold day. So this year – I’m getting a jump start and putting some simple practices in place so that by that time we’re in the real depth of winter I’m not just surviving.. but actually enjoying it.

One of the things I’ve noticed in winter is that it can be easy to sort of let yourself go. You’re engulfed in a huge puffer coat 90% of the time after all – why not just wear sweatpants underneath and go home and order takeout? But when I put on a real outfit, do my hair (even though it will just be smashed beneath a knit hat), keep up my workout routine and cook healthy meals at home – I feel a huge boost in mood. Today I’m getting my hair colored, I’ve been slowing adding a few new winter pieces to my wardrobe (like this cozy tweed dress that will be great with tights and a turtleneck beneath it) and I’m already in a good routine with working out that I plan on ramping up throughout winter. So far, so good.

The next thing is relationships. Spending quality time with Adam and making a point to trek out in the snow/ice/cold to see friends is always worth the effort. To that end, Adam and I just reinstated our “weeknight date” routine. It can be easy to fall into the pattern of holing up at home and watching TV.. so we plan to mix things up by having one mid-week date night that we take turns each week planning. Mine was this week and I planned an at home date of scrabble, spiked cider and playing records. It was so fun! Now even if I’m having a tough week, I’ll have something to look forward to halfway through. On the friend front – I joined a new book club this past week with the hopes of meeting some like-minded ladies and it was lovely. We’re all planning to go see the new Little Women movie when it comes out next month (that was the book of choice this round) and we’ll meet on the next book in January. Again – things to look forward to with people you enjoy is key!

Lastly, I’ve found that when I dedicate time to things that keep my mind sharp (again – it can be tempting to just binge watch netflix all winter.. but that seems to only add to my blues in the end) make a world of difference. That means reading as much as possible, pushing myself to try new things even if that’s just a new recipe and dusting off old hobbies like drawing or playing the piano – all make me feel great and are perfect for when it’s dark and cold out. Adam recently declared that we should get rid of the desk in our bedroom and replace it with an upright piano for me and I think he may really be onto something. By which I mean, he too is scared of my winter mood. Ha.

And if all else fails – we’re planning a warm weather getaway come March.

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